A Democrat state legislator in Alabama who was shown on video making some horrific comments defending abortions, especially on babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome, is doubling down on his remarks.
The comments come as Alabama is in the middle of a heated abortion debate. The state House passed a pro-life bill this week that would ban all abortions and make abortion a felony, putting abortion practitioners responsible for killing unborn children in prison.
Democratic state representative John Rogers of Birmingham, who claims to be a Catholic, spoke out against the bill and is now facing massive criticism over his very insensitive remarks, where he said “some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later.”
Rogers defended his comments today in an interview with a local newspaper:
“We have a state that’s not taken Medicaid expansion,” said Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, in an interview in his office on Thursday morning. “We’ve got a state that’s saying that you’ve got to be drug-tested before you get food stamps … Two murders a day in prison. And yet we still want to talk about abortion.”
Rogers on Thursday said he was criticizing state policies on health care and child care, saying Alabama legislators made decisions that led to neglect of children after their birth.
“Don’t punish the child later in life,” he said. “If the mother wants to have an abortion, that’s her choice. Her and her family’s choice, and her God’s.”
Democrats during the debate criticized majority Republicans for they saw as a lack of public resources for children’s care after birth.
“They’re pro-birth but not pro-life,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
“I’m very much against abortion,” he said. “That’s my belief, but I can’t force my belief on nobody else. I refuse to do that as a legislator. I think that decision is left up to that family and their God as to what they do with that child.”
In his original remarks, Representative Rogers said: “It ought to be a woman’s choice. I’m not about to be a man and tell a woman what to do with her body. She has a right to make her decisions herself.”
“Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later,” Rogers added.
He continued by saying some children may be aborted because they are “retarded” and “half-deformed.”
“Some parents can’t handle a child with problems,” he said. “It could be retarded. It might have no arms and no legs.”
“I may bring a bill to force all men to have vasectomies,” he said later in his remarks. “That would end this whole debate. There would be no more abortions and eventually no more voters.”
Alabama Senate majority leader Republican Greg Reed, issued a statement in response: “Representative Rogers’ remarks are chilling. ‘Kill them now, or you kill them later’? His comments should be condemned at the state and national level.”
State House Bill 314, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would make an abortion and attempted abortion a felony. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Mothers would not be punished for having an abortion under the legislation, which would make killing a baby in an abortion a Class A felony — punishable by life or 10 to 99 years in prison for abortionists who kill them.
Collins said the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong in Roe v. Wade, and unborn babies deserve a right to life.
“Just last year, roughly 60 percent of voters across the state ratified a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama as a pro-life state, and this legislation is the next logical step in the fight to protect unborn life,” she said, WDHN 18 reports.
Earlier, she told the Times Daily that she expects a legal challenge, and hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold protections for the unborn.
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“With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortions, [the] passage of this bill will reflect the conservative beliefs, principles, and desires of the citizens of Alabama while, at the same time, providing a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally-flawed Roe v. Wade decision,” Collins said.
If approved and enforced, the legislation could save thousands of unborn babies’ lives every year. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 6,768 abortions in 2017.
However, the abortion industry is expected to sue to block the law in court.
“They are trying to tee this up as an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade and its progeny. There are already cases in the pipeline that will get to the Supreme Court long before this does,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.
Marshall said the case could cost state taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees, and he cited another case where Alabama taxpayers were forced to pay Planned Parenthood and the ACLU $1.7 million after a court struck down another pro-life state law.
That is a concern for a number of pro-life leaders. Even some pro-life advocates express concerns about the strategy of such legislation, because when states lose these battles, taxpayers often are forced to pay pro-abortion groups’ legal fees.
The abortion industry has succeeded in overturning similar laws in court. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings who deserve the right to life.
When considering a similar Missouri statute in 1989, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the statute was nothing more than a statement of position that had no bearing on banning abortions or even limiting them in any way.
Missouri had approved a statute saying, “the life of each human being begins at conception” and “unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being.” The statute required that all Missouri state laws be interpreted to provide unborn children with rights equal to those enjoyed by other persons.
There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.
ACTION: Contact Rep. John Rogers here.